Nabucco pipeline confirms feeder lines to Iraq, Georgia

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The Nabucco pipeline project has taken another step forward by ordering engineering work for two feeder lines from Turkey to Iraq and Georgia. However, a third planned feeder line from Turkey to Iran has been put on the back-burner due to political considerations, the consortium announced.

At a recent Steering Committee meeting in Ankara, Nabucco shareholders agreed to modify the feeder line concept, a press release says. Due to the current political situation, they decided to put on hold  the third feeder line to the Turkish-Iran border.

There will be feeder lines to the Turkish-Georgian and Turkish-Iraqi borders. The planned route offers a wide range of supply sources for the Nabucco gas pipeline, which will receive gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq, the Nabucco consortium announced.

Indeed, recently Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a deal to ship 11 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas per year to Turkey. Shipments will start in 2017 and some of the gas may be pumped into Nabucco. Meanwhile, northern Iraq declared in Turkey that it stands ready to provide gas supplies "to make Nabucco work" (EurActiv 08/06/10).

The consortium also announced that it would raise its capacity step-by-step, from 8-10bcm/y and reaching maximum capacity by 2018 after the construction of additional compressor stations (see 'Background').

In the meantime, public hearings have been taking place in Turkey within communities, followed by question-and-answer sessions regarding the local impact of the project. According to the consortium, such  meetings have already taken place in the cities of Ankara, Eskişehir, Bursa, Balikesir, Tekirdağ and Kırklareli.

It was recently announced that Nabucco's main competitor, Gazprom-favoured South Stream, had tried to unsettle its rival by enlisting German utility RWE, which is already a Nabucco partner, as one of its members (EurActiv 12/07/10).  Later, Gazprom denied having made such an invitation.

Positions: 

It is clear that South Stream is still far from being a reality and that the Russians are grossly exaggerating, maybe even deluding themselves on some issues, writes Amanda Paul of the European Policy Centre in an article for Turkish daily Zaman.

"While Russia may claim to have all the necessary gas, it is clear they do not. When asked specifically about this, Gazprom always fails to identify specific gas sources. They are also unable to give hard evidence of where the funding will come from for the estimated $30 billion cost of this project," Paul argues.

While Russia continues to claim that South Stream has plenty of EU support, this is not true, she writes.

"For example, Germany, one of Russia's closest friends in the EU, has not given any support either financially or politically for South Steam, which has come as something of a blow for the men in the Kremlin. Indeed, Germany has expressed concerns about the project at times, including when Russia moved to get German energy giant RWE on board," she says. 

"And, on the other hand, while Germany has not been the most ardent supporter of Nabucco, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did travel to Kazakhstan recently and raised the issue of gas supply for Nabucco with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as well as for other planned southern energy corridor projects," Paul adds.

Timeline: 
  • 2011: Construction of Nabucco gas pipeline to begin.
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